Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Djado, ruined Saharan slave city

The ruined city of Djado, with nomadic women gathered in the foreground. October 1989. (Wikipedia)
Seem to have dwelt on old ruins quite a bit lately. Here's something I'd never heard of. Djado is a ruined city sticking up from the Djado Plateau in the Sahara, in north eastern Niger. It is known for its cave art (often of large mammals long since absent from the area), but is now largely uninhabited, with abandoned towns and forts visible.

Today Niger is one of the most undeveloped and poorest countries in the world, recently coming to international prominence due to the story that Gaddafi had escaped there. The city of Djado is thought to have developed as a station on a slave-trading route between Niger and Libya, long before Europeans arrived. (I'm not sure when that was, 16th century?)

Surrounded by malarial swamps, the dwellings are now the abode of scorpions and snakes.

The building material is adobe, which is made from sand, clay, water, blended with some kind of fibrous or organic material (sticks, straw, and/or manure).

Google map

Source: The Guardian 8.9.11 and Wikipedia. Can't find anything in online Britannica.

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